Starting at a very early age like most young boys, I forever dreamed about being like and working with my heroes when I grew up. Never really thinking, of course, it could ever really happen. Through my life as a musician, I have been fortunate enough to meet many of my heroes. I have also had the chance to work with a handful of them.
I placed the musical artistry, versatility, and brilliance of Gino Vannelli on an extraordinarily high pedestal not long after first hearing his music in 1975. For the serious musicians, scholars and dedicated fans who have consistently followed his career from 1973 until now no further explanation is needed. If you are only acquainted with Gino’s top 10 radio hits, then you owe it to yourself to catch up on all you have missed. It will be a road well worth traveling.
Gino Vannelli tops the list of any musician living today who I ever had dreams, or fantasies if you will, of working with. When I had the chance to start studying with him several years back, it was like the sky had opened for me, and I was profoundly grateful and honored. So imagine my delight when he recently asked me to be a background vocalist in his new video.
Gino’s new video is a Spanish version of his beautiful song, “Road To Redemption” from his new CD, “Wilderness Road.” To help him accurately translate and articulate his vocal performance, Gino brought in the famous and widely respected South American songwriter, pianist and recording artist, Alejandro Learner. I was not familiar with Alejandro or his distinguished career at the start, but after the video shoot and dinner afterward, I found out how doubly blessed I was. He was a very genuine, friendly, and kind man. He even brought us all delicious South American chocolates!
To round out the rest of the ensemble, Gino brought in local Portland musicians, vocalist Lauren Steele and stand up bassist Cary Miga. I had met Cary previously when Gino was auditioning musicians to perform on the album which he will be producing and recording for me in 2020. Cary is a great guy, a lot of fun and a fantastic bass player. Lauren Steele is a beautiful, talented young vocalist, and it was a joy to sing with her.
We shot the entire video in one day on August 13, 2019. That is great for the budget, but it all seemed to go by too quickly and was over before we knew it. Gino and Alejandro were in a great mood, and there were a lot of laughs, which I think comes through warmly in the video. Afterward, we had dinner at Tad’s Chicken N’ Dumplins in Troutdale where we enjoyed more laughs, conversation, and great food.
When dinner was over, we all said our goodbyes and I got into my black rent a car which just happened to be parked next to Gino’s black car. If only they had been in the shade, it would have made for the perfect evening.
I encourage you to take the time to watch both versions of “Road To Redemption.” For your convenience, links are posted directly below. Last but not least please visit www.ginov.com and www.amazon.com and complete your Gino Vannelli record/CD/DVD collection.
Still walking the night...
"Ramblings From Jeff" - is a dedicated personal blog page within JeffPike.com written and posted by Jeff Pike.